The Top Data Trends for 2021

Mark Bremer our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 1/7/2021 10:16 AM
Back in 2019, there was speculation that 2020 was going to the year for Data Science and, whilst it certainly was, the reason for its acceleration wasn’t entirely planned. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the implementation and use of all disciplines within Data, including Data Analytics, Machine Learning, AI and Data Science, grew exponentially across all industries globally. 

Since March 2020, teams have been using data to help themselves navigate the unknown. By having tangible hard numbers and statistics, decision makers have been able to make informed business choices which not only make supply chains and service offerings more effective and efficient but save time and money - both crucial elements for any company, but especially in a time of crisis.

This growth of Data & Analytics is set to continue as we move further into 2021 (and beyond). Figures suggest that 2020-2022 could be the biggest period of growth the industry has ever seen, from being worth $189bn globally in 2019 to an estimated $274bn in 2022. This not only means more innovation and disruption from numerous businesses globally, but also a higher demand for Data specialist recruitment. 

So, what exactly could this growth look like over the next 12 months?

The rise of the Machine Learning Engineer (MLE)


Usually, when companies want to build a data-driven business model and analyse the data, they would hire two separate roles in order to do this: A Data Scientist to do the deep dive analysis and then build the model, this model would then be passed to an Engineer who would write the code and deploy the model so it can run effectively in a business setting and get results. 

However, as a direct result of the pandemic, companies are now looking at ways to get as much as they can out of their financial investment and make their teams leaner. Machine Learning Engineers mould the roles of the Data Scientist and Engineer into one and the salary investment would be slashed by half. 

But implementing this change won’t be an easy feat for employers straight away. Machine Learning Engineers will be harder to find that Data Scientists and Engineers, as many data specialists won’t have an all-round knowledge of both disciplines instead, holding specific specialisms in one area. Nevertheless, with this increased demand for MLEs, we will see people who are earlier in their careers building up the necessary skills to have the perfect CV for a MLE, making them much more employable.

An increase in e-commerce 


This year we will undoubtedly see an increased focus put on e-commerce. As our world becomes increasingly more virtual, companies will be trading more than ever online and, to be successful, many of them will need to invest heavily in the data and technology needed to run e-commerce efficiently. From updating their website to implementing more analysis and testing, these aspects will allow companies to better understand what their consumers are doing online, ensuring that their e-commerce platform is fit for purpose. 

Amazon is a prime example of where most e-commerce retailers will be aiming for over the next few years. Aspects that we take for granted from the retail giant, such as being told when something is out of stock and the expected delivery date of our order, is in fact a very complex data and algorithm platform that takes large financial investment to perfect. However, we will likely see more and more smaller businesses looking at how they can create and build something similar for their own sites. 

IR35 won’t be the death of the contractor 


In 2021 the economy will continue to rely heavily on an agile workforce, however, with the introduction of IR35 in April many companies are going to pause, or stop altogether, the hiring of self-employed contractors; instead, opting for permanent members of staff. A Catch-22. 

That said, this won’t necessarily be a long-term issue. IR35 started in the public sector and at that time, a lot of companies locked up and didn’t hire contractors. They suffered from losing those highly skilled individuals and became worse off for it and, over time, the issues were resolved, and contractors could once again enter the workplace without too much worry. 

The business world will, of course, have teething problems with this and we are likely to see the number of contractors decline in the first half of 2021. Many of these individuals may opt to take on permanent roles for the time being, accepting a lower net income but, after a 12 month delay and with a greater understanding of the IR35 processes and legislations, businesses should feel more confidence in continuing to hire contractors, especially in high level roles.

Diversity


One of the biggest trends we’re likely to see in the industry in the year ahead lies within Diversity and Inclusion. The market has been traditionally quite poor when it comes to diversity, especially where gender is involved. Currently, only 18-25 per cent of the market is female and these percentages decrease the further up the career ladder you look. After the events of this year, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, more businesses in the space are going to focus on how to improve their diversity. 

Of course, there is no quick fix, and this will be a theme for many years to come but 2021 will certainly be a great starting point. Internal structures and procedures will need to be revisited by HR leaders and senior teams and tackling the problem much be started at the roots with aspects such as the hiring process and attitudes towards Diversity and Inclusion within existing internal teams.2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year and one that has witnessed huge change, growth and innovation within all areas of Data.

The Data & Analytics market remains full of exciting and dynamic opportunities. To learn more about our work in this space, take a look at our latest roles or get in touch with us at info@harnham.com.


Related blog & news

With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

Visit our Blogs & News portal or check out the related posts below.

How Can Organisations Tap Into The Huge Pool Of Neurodiverse Data Talent?

Ensuring that our workplaces are thriving with a diverse range of talent is, rightly, a topic that many organisations are focussing on. Yet, for the most part, this dialogue is centred around gender, ethnicity, sexuality and perhaps even physical disability. It is fairly uncommon therefore to see close attention given to exploring the challenges surrounding neurodiversity in organisations around the globe. Generally speaking, the term neurodiversity encompasses autism, attention deficit disorders, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and other neurological conditions. To hear a range of diverse viewpoints and perspectives is to contribute to an inclusive society and organisation. Leaving neurodiversity aside is no longer acceptable. Our research in the US highlights how 26 per cent of US adults have some form of disability, yet disabled individuals only account for 3.5 per cent of those working in Data & Analytics. As the global skills shortage worsens, it stands to reason that businesses will want to access this previously untapped talent pool. We know that in the UK, 56 per cent of organisations continue to experience skills shortages and in the US, two-thirds of employers hiring for full-time, permanent employees say they can’t find qualified talent to fill open jobs. An often-overlooked area of diversity is the impact a disability can have on an individual’s professional career. It’s no secret that all organisations would like to construct the best team – but are you doing enough to consider underrepresented talent? Creating a smooth recruitment and interview process One of the first barriers that neurodiverse candidates may encounter when seeking to enter an organisation is the recruitment and interview process. For these individuals, undergoing testing in this way puts pressure on communication skills, a tool that often allows us to better understand, connect and empathise with one another. When it comes to the recruitment process, the traditional in-person interview process — which assesses communication skills and personality fit — can be difficult to negotiate for neurodiverse candidates. In fact, this can be said to have been heightened by the pandemic too. The switch to virtual interviewing has added a new challenge to how neurodiverse candidates are able to participate in the process as miscommunication and interruptions come into the picture. For employers, tapping into the pool of data professionals with these invisible disabilities requires them to take the stress out of the interview and assessment process. It is critical to consider someone’s potential ability to do the job and the core skills that they have linking directly to the role on offer. Onboard a successful neurodiverse candidate efficiently Regardless of the size of an organisation, from global corporation to growing SME, they all share the same need to onboard new hires successfully and with limited disruption. It is this process that begins the relationship between an employee and an employer and although there will have been interactions through the recruitment process, it is the initial welcome into the organisation that will set the tone for the relationship moving forward. For neurodiverse employees this can be a daunting prospect; meeting new people while also familiarising themselves with a new environment and routine requires ongoing support and help from the employer. There are a number of ways that organisations can make this easier, from in-person or virtual meetings with smaller groups of the team to scheduled one-to-one chats with colleagues, the first few steps can be made more comfortable by promoting an inclusive culture. However, as there are such wide-ranging differences between neurodiverse conditions and individual requirements, employers need to implement policies that are tailored and highly individualised. Creating such policies and programmes can be complex and time-consuming, but it is critical to include your team in this. Ultimately it will boost your bottom line and the array of perspectives and views that are shared within the organisation. Retaining neurodiverse employees Neurodiverse candidates are capable, intelligent and have creative-thinking minds. To ensure their tenure within an organisation is lengthy and successful, we need to support these professionals and equip them with the tools and support they need to thrive. A standardised approach will not satisfy every need, and so it is important that every person in your organisation is accommodated as far as possible. The importance of this could not be clearer, as the BIMA Tech Inclusion & Diversity Report details how neurodivergent employees are more likely to be impacted by poor mental health (84 per cent against 49 per cent for neurotypical workers). This suggests that beyond attracting neurodiverse talent into the organisation, employers need to focus on the quality of the experience within the team. For example, take the time to book in regular meetings between the employee and their line manager. This will ensure that projects run smoothly, and any concerns or questions can be raised in a controlled environment. Listen to your team and their lived experiences to make informed and accurate plans to facilitate their growth within the team. After all, each employee brings a set of unique skills to a company. As more organisations realise the benefits of hiring neurodivergent candidates into their teams, employers have to act quickly to make routes into the business as accessible as possible. Ultimately, hiring neurodiverse people makes complete business sense. We know that diverse teams perform better, so now is the time to step up and tap into the huge pool of neurodiverse data talent. If you’re in the world of Data & Analytics and looking to take a step up or find the next member of your team, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more.

Weekly News Digest: 5th - 9th April 2021

This is Harnham’s weekly news digest, the place to come for a quick breakdown of the week’s top news stories from the world of Data & Analytics.    The Drum: How data visualisation turns marketing metrics into business intelligence Gathering data is just one part of a marketer’s job but having the ability to turn this data into something visually stunning, informative and easy to use is another skill completely.  Marketers, on the whole, are extremely visual learners along with around 65 per cent of the population. Most of us are able to absorb data more effectively if the information being presented to us is done in such a way that is pleasing to the eye. And this is why Data Visualisation exists; it allows us to group, organise and represent data sets in a way that allows us to analyse larger quantities of information, compare findings, spot patterns and extract meaningful insights from raw data. Not only does Data Visualisation allow us to learn more effectively, but we can then turn this understanding into much broader and deeper Business Intelligence.  To read more on the positives of Data Visualisation and how to translate this into meaningful Business Intelligence, click here.  ZDNet: The five Vs of customer data platforms According to ZDNet, Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are the hottest marketing technology today, offering companies a way to capture, unify, activate, and analyse customer data. Research done in 2020 by Salesforce showed that CDPs were among the highest priority investments for CMOs in 2021. If you’re planning to invest in a CDP this year, what five critical things do you need to think about when developing a successful strategy? ZDNet tells all.  Velocity - Your systems need to manage a high volume of data, coming in at various speeds.Variety - Every system has a slightly different main identifier or "source of truth," and the goal is to have one. This starts with being able to provision a universal information model, or schema, which can organize all of the differently labelled data into a common taxonomy. Veracity - Companies must ensure they can provision a single, persistent profile for every customer or account.Volume - It has been theorized that, in 2020, 1.7MB of data was created every second for every person on Earth. If you want to use those interactions to form the basis of your digital engagement strategy, you have to store them somewhere. Value - Once you have a clean, unified set of scaled data – now’s the time to think about how to derive value from it.  To learn more, read the full article here. Towards Data Science: How to Prepare for Business Case Interview Questions as a Data Scientist When you think of Data Science, the first thing that comes to mind will be technical knowledge of coding languages and fantastic statistical ability; softer skills such as communication and exceptional business knowledge may be overlooked. However, this is where many budding Data Scientists trip up. It is these softer skills and business acumen that sets brilliant candidates apart from others.  But how, when not usually taught at university, do you gather the business knowledge that will set you apart from the competition and showcase it in interview? Towards Data Science shares a few key pointers. Build a foundation – Brush up on your business basics. Research project management methodologies, organisational roles, tools, tech and metrics - all are crucial here. Company specifics – Research your company and its staff. Make sure your knowledge is tailored to the company you’re interviewing for. Products – This is where you’ll stand out above the rest if you get it right. The more you can know the ins and outs of products and metrics at the company, the more prepared you will be to answer business case questions. Read the full article here.  Harnham: Amped up Analytics: Google Analytics 4 Joshua Poore, one of our Senior Managers based in the US West division of Harnham, explores Google’s new and improved data insight capabilities, predominantly across consumer behaviours and preferences.  This exciting new feature of Google was born in the last quarter of 2020 and has now fully come into its infancy, and it’s an exciting time for Data & Analytics specialists across the globe. Joshua explores four key advantages of Google Analytics 4.0. Combined data and reporting - Rather than focusing on one property (web or app) at a time, this platform allows marketers to track a customer’s journey more holistically. A focus on anonymised data - By crafting a unified user journey centred around machine learning to fill in any gaps, marketers and businesses have a way to get the information they need without diving into personal data issues.Predictive metrics - Using Machine Learning to predict future transactions is a game changer for the platform. These predictive metrics for e-commerce sites on Google properties allow for targeted ads to visitors who seem most likely to make a purchase within one week of visiting the site. Machine Learning driven insights - GA4 explains it “has machine learning at its core to automatically surface helpful insights and gives you a complete understanding of your customers across devices and platforms.” Machine Learning-driven insights include details that elude human analysts.  To read Joshua’s full insights on GA4, click here.  We've loved seeing all the news from Data & Analytics in the past week, it’s a market full of exciting and dynamic opportunities. To learn more about our work in this space, get in touch with us at  info@harnham.com.   

RELATED Jobs

recently viewed jobs